When you pick for the boom, sometimes you get the bust – Clearwater announced on Twitter that Phillies 2008 First Round Draft Choice Anthony Hewitt has been released. Hewitt was old for his class, when at 19 years old he was taken with the 24th overall pick in out of Salisbury Prep (CT). He received a $1.38 million signing bonus at the time.
Over 2300+ PAs of professional ball, Hewitt triple slashed 223/264/370, with 82 doubles, 24 triples, 63 home runs and 94 stolen bases, and 763 Ks to just 91 BBs.
Matt’s profile of Hewitt’s career is here, last updated in the fall of 2012, before he had what I guess you would call a resurgence in 2013. Last year, the right-handed hitting Hewitt OPSed above .700 for the first time in his career, and added a couple points to his walk rate, while feasting on left-handed pitching, prompting some to wonder at the time if he’d make a short big league career for himself as a platoon/bench option if he could play decent defense and steal some more bases. 2014 has been a train wreck, however, as he OPSed .317 over two levels, having been demoted from AA Reading to A+ Clearwater a few weeks ago.
By many accounts, Hewitt was one of the hardest working guys on every team on which he appeared, and it’s a shame to see a guy like that never figure it out. Sometimes that’s just not enough to force a good ballplayer out of a good athlete.
Corner outfield like the infield corners is where teams look to put players with power and limited athleticism. Typically right fielders have to have a strong arm to make the throw to third base to prevent teams from going first to third on every single (and tagging up on fly balls), however having a plus arm in left is still a legitimate asset to a team’s defense. Up until 2010 the corners had not been a major problem for the Phillies but since the departure of Jayson Werth the Phillies have struggled to fill RF, they got a successful half season out of Hunter Pence at a very high price but otherwise the replacements in RF have been disappointments. In LF the Phillies historically have been willing to sacrifice defense in order to get a good bat into the line up.
On a whole the Phillies have drafted and signed toolsy outfielders with limited success to this point, highlighted by Dominic Brown’s current major league struggles. It does however leave the system with a good amount of players who have high upside, both in the corners and center field, that could make the jump to solid prospects.
As always if you have not read gregg’s end of year recaps for would like the refresher here is the upper half and the lower half.
Darin Ruf (26) – Ruf has been the source of much discussion this fall after a torrid end to his AA season. Going into the year he has a very good org first baseman that had some upside as a bench bat. By the end of the season Ruf had put up one of the greatest AA in Phillies history, and had hit 3 HRs in the major leagues. Ruf has been playing mostly in LF since the middle of August, where he has the tools to be average at best with an ok arm and poor speed, there have been positive reports so far from his time in winter ball. In both the majors and winter ball Ruf showed more swing and miss to his game, but he still maintained his ability to hit for power. At best Ruf can be a poor fielding, slugging LF who will provide RF power in a market where it as a premium. Ruf’s best position is first base but that is blocked by Ryan Howard’s contract. There is little to no precedent for a player of Ruf’s profile becoming a major league regular so there are no good comparable players to look at to judge how his future will project. Continue reading
From a source who got in touch with me, Anthony Hewitt was in CF during a recent instructs game and hasn’t played 3B, possibly at all during the Instructional League. This makes sense, its something we’ve discussed here before. Hopefully it allows him to focus more on the offensive side of his game, which obviously needs a lot of work.
Add this to the list of “I think I’ve talked about this before, but don’t remember”, but it seems defense has become a much more talked about topic in the last few seasons. You know I’m not one for pumping other people’s products and telling you to buy stuff, but I am going to tell you to buy something here. John Dewan’s “Fielding Bible“, which I own, and the Fielding Bible 2, which I will buy, are essential if you care about understanding the game of baseball. Dewan’s method involves using video, and the core of his work is the +/- system, which attempts to determine who is average, above average and below average defensively. Dewan’s work is groundbreaking, in that its the first real system that uses video instead of just putouts/assists/errors/doubleplays and so forth. If you are a subscriber at BillJamesOnline you have access to the +/- scores for every major leaguer, and the Fielding Bibles also give you a bunch more in depth analysis on the various facets of the game. Check below the fold for more…
I’ll be doing something similar to what BA does, highlighting the 20 best prospects in each league, but they beat me to the punch on the GCL list. Which is ok, because mine is likely to look much different. Anyway, today is the GCL, and the Phillies are well represented.
4. Jason Knapp
7. Sebastian Valle
8. Zach Collier
13. Anthony Hewitt